Monday, March 31, 2014

Quality is _________? - Scrum Challenge

A few months ago ASQ (the American Society for Quality) sent out an email to its members asking them if they wanted some bumper stickers they were offering to support some ASQ quality anniversary (my apologies, i've forgotten which - probably World Quality Month).  I thought that it was a good offer and asked for 5.  And promptly forgot about them. 

Until last week when when they arrived in the mail.  The bumper stickers are plain, white, say at the top 'Quality is' and have a space to write in the ending to this statement.  They also have an ASQ emblem on the side.

Not wanting to fill them out all by myself and having more than 5 team members i had to get a little creative in figuring out what should be on each sticker.  So i came up with a little game for our Friday scrum challenge.  

The Rules

  1. The Team was asked the day before to bring with them to the Scrum Challenge 10 answers to the statement, 'QA Is __________(!)'
    1. response could be one word or a phrase up to 10 words.
  2. During the scrum all of the responses were handed in to the facilitator.
  3. Each participant is given 5 votes.
  4. The facilitator reads out the 10 responses for each participant. 
  5. After each 10 the facilitator asks each person if they want to vote for any of the responses.
    1. if a response is voted for it is written on the whiteboard and the number of votes are indicated beside it.
    2. multiple responses can be chosen, they get added to the whiteboard and tallied.
    3. participants are responsible for remembering their votes and not to use more than 5.
  6. Scoring
    1. The top five responses by vote will end up on a bumper sticker.
    2. Each vote for a response will give that person a point.
    3. Each response that is duplicated will give each participant a point.
      1. In the case of a duplicate, both participants score the votes.
    4. The highest scoring participant will win a prize. 

Here are the responses that got votes - in order of votes

    1. Quality is Never an Accident
    2. Quality is Above Quantity
    3. ​Quality is What Developers BELIEVE They Deliver
    4. Quality is A Creative Process
    5. ​Quality is Achievable
    6. Quality is Pricey /Costly
    7. Quality is Not a Finishing Move in Mortal Kombat
    8. Quality is Defined by the Customer
    9. Quality is a Song by Paul Simon
    10. ​Quality is One of the Best Words Starting with Q. 
    11. Quality is Everyone's Responsibility

and here are the actual winners in order - most votes at the top.  (oh, the 5th one was a write in vote by the facilitator - ie me)

We have not yet figured just where we are going to put the bumper stickers.

This game was well received by the team.  Some very healthy debate was had during the reading out of the selections that people had made.  Whether quality really was accidental or creative and some good team camaraderie was had discussing what developers really believe quality to be.  The discussion was lively enough that i had to stop it in order to get through the reading of everyone's submissions.  We picked the discussion up again in a lunch & learn meeting that we have biweekly and it took up most of the hour. 

What Went Right
  • Excellent discussions about what quality really is.  

  • The team enjoyed the challenge quite a bit. 

  • What Went Wrong
    • Timing was a little tight for the number of submissions. 

    Lessons Learned
    There's a lot of passion in QA's about quality.  There's also some wiggle room about what the word really means.  There still isn't true agreement about whether or not Quality is Never an Accident - a division that my wife and i also hold.  For the record, i think that it is never an accident.  In any product you build no matter what the circumstances of the moment of creation are, the tools that you use in creating have already had quality discussions as part of their makeup. 


    1. Quality is planned, prepped and practiced, so we get it right!

    2. Think quality and it is spoken;
      Speak quality and it is act upon;
      Act upon quality and it becomes a practice;
      Practicing quality becomes the character we keep.